Easier note entry

• Nov 25, 2013 - 23:00

Back in the 1970s (before Apple and MIDI) I connected my first computer to my pipe organ and devised a simpler way of entering music that did not require continually changing the chosen note length for rhythmically complex music. Here is how it worked:

Select a basic notelength, 1/4 note say.
Pressing a key (or keys) on the MIDI keyboard caused a beep to sound, and if the key was released at that point the note (or chord) would be entered as a 1/4 note.
If the key was not released, a half second later a second beep would sound, and if the key was released at that point the note would instead be entered as a 1/2 note.
Again if the key was not released, a half second later a third beep would sound, and if the key was released at that point the note would be entered as a dotted 1/2 note.
And so on until the desired note length was reached.

Rests were entered the same way by way of the space bar.

It felt very natural to enter music this way since it felt like one was simply playing the music with notes held for their proper length. It turned out to also be very quick and I entered many a Bach organ score this way.

The period between beeps was user adjustable and could, with practice, be made quite short.

I would love to have someone add this feature to MuseScore since I have fond memories of how fast this method was and how trivial to program even in machine language.


Sounds interesting.

I think some of MuseScore's problems with MIDI would need to be resolved first.

But potentially this could be very useful for those wishing to enter notes from a MIDI keyboard.

I had a similar idea but struggled to come up with a good way to articulate it on the forums so I congratulate John for having done so in such elegant fashion!

There are a few different ways it could be done:

  1. The automatic advancement of the insertion point each half-second could occur even when a note is not being pressed to allow for rests. The user would enter a "record mode" and would essentially play the piece on the keyboard but at a slower tempo to ensure accuracy.
  2. The advancement could be made by another input (e.g. a midi sustain pedal). The user presses the pedal each time they want the note to be extended by a 1/4 note (for example). They can also press the pedal with no keys down to create rests.
  3. When a piece is particularly complicated the user could enter different voices or the piano LH and RH separately by entering a "re-record mode". Notes added in "re-record mode" would not overwrite the existing notes. (Perhaps if the tempo of "record-mode" is adjustable then the user could enter a nice easy bass line at a fast tempo and then enter "re-record" mode to add the more complicated melody line.)

These methods need not be mutually exclusive. If John's method is ever implemented then it would be relatively simple to add these as additional options.

I agree with this proposal. It should be enhanced to set the resolution, e.g eights instead of quarters per beep, or to allow multiple entries per beep to be interpreted as shorter notes (2 entries = eights; three entries = triplet eights) and concurrent entries (two or more keys simultaneously) interpreted as chords.

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